Gov. Abbott issues order limiting mail-in ballot drop-off locations to one
AUSTIN, Texas - Governor Greg Abbott has issued a proclamation that his office says will enhance ballot security protocols for the in-person delivery of marked mail ballots for the November 3 election.
Under this proclamation, beginning on October 2, 2020, mail ballots that are delivered in person by voters who are eligible to vote by mail must be delivered to a single early voting clerk’s office location as publicly designated by a county’s early voting clerk.
The proclamation also requires early voting clerks to allow poll watchers to observe any activity conducted at the early voting clerk’s office location related to the in-person delivery of a marked mail ballot. This proclamation amends a July 27th proclamation that extended the period in which marked mail-in ballots may be delivered in person.
Before today's order, voters in Travis County were able to hand deliver their own mail-in ballots starting October 1 at four drive-thru locations.
"The State of Texas has a duty to voters to maintain the integrity of our elections," said Governor Abbott in a news release. "As we work to preserve Texans’ ability to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take extra care to strengthen ballot security protocols throughout the state. These enhanced security protocols will ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting."
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The Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement following the governor's announcement. The statement is as follows:
“Republicans are on the verge of losing, so Governor Abbott is trying to adjust the rules last minute. Courts all over the country, including the Fifth Circuit yesterday, have held that it is too late to change election rules, but our failed Republican leadership will try anyway. Make no mistake, Democracy itself is on the ballot. Every Texan must get out and vote these cowards out!
“Governor Abbott and Texas Republicans are scared. We are creating a movement that will beat them at the ballot box on November 3, and there’s nothing these cheaters can do about it.”
Sarah Labowitz, policy & advocacy director for the ACLU of Texas, reacted to the news with the following statement:
“We are dismayed that the governor of Texas decided to curtail the ability of Texans to cast their ballots safely in the middle of a pandemic by limiting the number of drop-off sites per county. While the governor asserts that he is attempting to ‘strengthen ballot security,’ we see this as yet another thinly disguised attempt to stymie the vote. As is well documented, Texas has a voter suppression problem, not a ballot security problem. The governor should work with counties to ensure that all timely mailed ballots are received and counted, and that all voters appearing at polling places to submit ballots or vote are free from harassment.”